UNITED Nations rights rapporteur Agnes Callamard has confirmed receiving the Philippine government’s invitation to her office to conduct an investigation on the thousands of extrajudicial killings in the country.
Callamard claimed, however, that the invite only reached her on Oct 24, nearly a month after it was supposedly sent.
According to Rappler, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, arbitrary and summary executions confirmed the matter via an email at 10pm on Monday.
“We did not get an explanation as to why the letter took a month to reach the OHCHR in Geneva,” she was quoted saying, referring to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Previous reports said the letter was prepared in September and signed by Philippine executive secretary Salvador Medialdea on Sept 26. The palace subsequently released the letter two days later, and it was sent to the media on Oct 12.
Letter finally in hand, Callamard said the investigation will soon commence.
“We have now begun the process of negotiating the scope and guarantees for the mission to go ahead and deliver the best outcomes in keeping with the terms of my mandate,” she said, according to Rappler.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had in September given the green light to the UN and officials from the European Union (EU) to investigate his bloody anti-drug campaign.
The offer, however, came attached with conditions. Duterte said in return, the foreign bodies must allow his government to question them in public afterward to prove their human rights concerns were baseless.
Responding later, Callamard said she welcomed the president’s statement but said she would first seek “essential” security guarantees for the people she planned to interview to ensure they would not be punished by the Philippine government later.
Among others, these guarantees would include allowing her freedom of movement and freedom of inquiry, as well as an assurance that those who cooperate would not later be subjected to intimidates, threats or even punishment.
Duterte has repeatedly lashed out at both the UN and EU for criticizing his war on drugs.
Among others, he has accused them of hypocrisy for raising concerns about his anti-crime campaign while launching military strikes that kill innocent people in the Middle East.
According to the latest figures on the Philippine drug war, a total of 4,737 people have been killed so far between July 1 and the fourth week of October.